The first of Chris Farley’s big films, Tommy Boy shot the SNL star into further fame, with a trio of films coming together as a result of his role in Tommy Boy. Although his career ended way before its time, the man is remembered for his loud and bumbling characters and there’s no better example of that than Tommy Boy. Not necessarily a box office success, the film later attracted more fans via the home video market and with several editions available in the past few years being released, it’s no wonder that the film continues to see subsequent releases, the most recent of which is a Blu-ray launch of the two-disc “Holy Schnike Edition.”
The boys are back and they’re bigger than ever in the gut busting, all-new Holy Schnike Edition! Crack-up comedians Chris Farley and David Spade star as two ne’er-do-well traveling salesmen who hit the road in order to save the family business in this larger than life movie. Co-starring Rob Lowe, Bo Derek, Dan Akroyd and Brian Dennehy.
If that synopsis seems short, there are two reasons. The first is that is what’s on the back jacket of the release, and the second is that there really isn’t much of a plot to this film. I’d only seen it recently for the first time and while it definitely had me laughing, there honestly just wasn’t much to get into, in terms of plot development. It’s a by-the-books story that takes you from point a-to-point-b without any real surprises or massive twists along the way. You fully expect this bumbling buffoon to succeed in the seemingly impossible task and you aren’t surprised when he does, but that’s kind of defeating the purpose of the film to dumb it down that much.
There are, admittedly, a few things that this film does that is surprising. The quick turn into drama the film takes shortly after it begins really threw me for a loop and ended up crushing my thought bubble that this was going to be a generic film. As slapstick and visual gag oriented this film is, it really does have a lot of heart to it and I think that’s what’s helped keep it in movie goers minds after all of these years. If you take the emotional bits out of it, the film is really quite a hollow typical comedic romp, but because of the family ties in the film, it all becomes a lot more meaningful.
Of course there are still a few odd elements in it; the betrayal angel in the film was kind of strange, as was the whole role that Rob Lowe played in it. Still, whether it was the slapstick comedy or banter between Spade and Farley in the film, it’s hard to deny that it wasn’t an entertaining romp at the very least.
Usually I can find more to talk about with a film, but with Tommy Boy, what you get is really in the film. There’s no deeper meaning and what you largely glean from this film is superficial. Still, it’s worth a look and is definitely one of Farley’s better efforts (I feel the next Farley/Spade vehicle, Black Sheep, was just Tommy Boy repainted and with less of a story). Recommended.
Tommy Boy – Holy Schnike Edition arrives on Blu-ray with a standard Elite Blu-ray case and inserts noting firmware updates as well as the $10 rebate for upgrading to this Blu-ray release over the standard DVD edition(s). Menus are simple and easy to navigate, although the difference between the on/off colors for the links is a bit hard to discern. All extras are in standard definition and are ported over exactly as they were from the original two-disc DVD release.
Video for this film arrives in an AVC encoded 1080p transfer that is quite solid. The detail levels are high and you’d be hard pressed to find anything about this film that doesn’t at least look nice. There are a few sequences that are a bit soft looking, but overall it’s a solid video transfer that is backed up by an equally nice Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. Surrounds aren’t used excessively and you find the music spitting out in the surrounds more than anything, but overall it’s a crystal clear audio track. Also included are Spanish DD5.1, French DD2.0 and subtitles in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Moving into the extras we first have a Commentary by Director Peter Segal that is light and informative. I would’ve liked to have a few cast members on this track as well, but Segal carries it well enough by himself that it warrants a listen. On top of the commentary we have four Featurettes (59:56), “Tommy Boy: Behind the Laughter”, “Stories from the Side of the Road”,”Just the Two of Us”, and “Growing Up Farley.” The featurettes vary from just simple making-of and the issues that plagued the film to just general recollections of what it was like to work on the set. “Just the Two of Us” is a particularly touching featurette that recounts the on and off-set friendship between David Spade and Chris Farley.
Storyboard Comparisons (13:54) are up next and a round of Additional Scenes (Deleted Scenes – 6:43, Extended Scenes – 22:20, Alternate Takes – 4:19) give us a further glimpse into film. The Deleted Scenes are each preceded by an intro with director Segal, while the other scenes are just simple reels. Next is the Gag Reel (4:17) and a wide array of TV Spots (7:38). Finally we have the Theatrical Trailer (2:28, 1080p), which is encoded in MPEG-2, oddly enough.
Overall Tommy Boy is a solid film that is worth checking out. If you’re a fan of the film previously, you’ll absolutely love the extras—a full commentary and nearly an hour’s worth of featurettes is more than most modern films get and the retrospective elements of them are great. Highly Recommended.
Tommy Boy – Holy Schnike Edition arrives on Blu-ray on December 16th.